MEET Deuteronomy, leader of the Jellicle cats in T S Eliot's poems and Andrew Lloyd Wallet's musical.
The cats' enemies, the Pollicle dogs, have hidden an object known, for some reason, as the Heavyside Layer. It is the focus of the cats mystic powers, and the dogs intend to destroy it - if they can form a pack. Meanwhile ten kittens have strayed off the astral staircase and must be collected and returned to the Heavyside Layer.
The whole heady brew of witchcraft and whiskers boils down to a basic Sabre Wulf style maze game. The playing area is very large, and a map is provided which can be consulted at will. The map shows the positions of dogs and kittens, thus enabling you to work out the best routes. Deuteronomy deals death in the form of fur-balls and carries stun powder.
The graphics are well-designed and attractive. The animation tends to be slow, particularly if you want to keep the sound effects, a wailing rendition of Memory.
Cats would be a sweet little number full of fun and novelty if it was not for one thing - the game is too easy. It was a good idea to allow sight of the map, but a time limit on that might be appropriate. Deuteronomy starts off with too many stamina points so that, with the obligatory nine lives, he can easily afford to die and come back with a full complement of strength.
When 24 dogs are in the den the pack is formed and you lose. Again, even at the highest level, using a couple of lives to exterminate dogs should even the odds sufficiently to give you time to complete your task. We managed to play straight through all five levels for a grand total of 7953025 points. No game ought to be that easy, surely?
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor